I suppose it’s telling that lately we’ve had more posts about horses than about diving. Then again, a horse takes out a huge chunk of your time. We have to take care of him every day, to make sure he gets enough exercise. Luckily the stable we house him at performs all the heavy work of cleaning the stables, feeding and keeping an eye out for him (and 100 or so other horses).
Julie and I want different things out of a horse. She wants to ride in the adjacent forest, and dressage comes second. I like to learn to fine tune the horse, which is not going to happen in the forest, although I do like riding there. Actually, this is great for Rumba, as now he gets to do different things. Even better, we have another rider who likes jumping, so he gets to do that as well.
Today we had another dressage test at the stable. This is just a stable contest, as opposed to the national level contests (which we also have at our stable, but I don’t do those). It’s mostly a personal thing. You perform a test, and if you succeed you can continue to the next level. The test consists of a bunch of manoeuvres you have to show, and you get graded for each one. On top of that you get graded for overall appearance, style, etc.
I was kinda nervous about this test as Rumba has been difficult last week. Monday during a private lesson he was very stiff, didn’t listen at all, felt sluggish, and just balked at everything I wanted to do. This then turned into a vicious circle, as I got frustrated for nothing working as planned. This continued for the rest of the week, and only on saturday afternoon I got a bit of cooperation from him. But today, it all disappeared. He shined, both during preparation (it takes hours to make him and me presentable!) and during the test. Even before finishing I knew I was going to get enough points to continue.
This reminds me. We also got a saddle fitted last week. This was supposedly a really exciting event, as Rumba has thrown off 2 experienced riders during previous fittings. So everyone was telling us we were going to fly off the horse. We asked one of our instructors (the one that rides him once a week) to ride him first with each new saddle, and she agreed. So when the moment was there, we were ready for a rodeo. It all went up in smoke. There was no rodeo. It was a non-event. He took every saddle without problems, and after 2 saddles we even stopped having the instructor ride. So next week we have a brand new saddle.
So anyways, back to the test. I finished first in my level. Unfortunately more than half the riders did not get enough points. I personally think the judges were a little bit too strict. These are stable competitions, and we were being graded like national competition riders. Silly if you ask me. So for all my colleagues, this is the only time you’ll even see me in a suit like that!